Luis Larrazabal and Caristina. Photo property of Equinium/The Ridge at Wellington.
Wellington, FL (March 27, 2020) – Despite the omnipresent cloud of coronavirus concerns darkening an otherwise sunny and crisp Florida spring, the last days of competition on the 2020 Turf Tour did not disappoint. Adhering to strict protocols, social distancing, and sanitization procedures recommended by both the USEF and CDC, The Ridge’s home farm on Palm Beach Point Boulevard in Wellington hosted two rings of show jumping at what would be the final chance for riders to jump for the 2020 Leading Rider Award. With a tricked-out golf cart presented by Iron Horse Transit as the prize, the Turf Tour’s Leading Rider rankings were a close race between a handful of riders determined to win and prove the resiliency and perseverance of the equestrian athlete.
The $15,000 Turf Tour Grand Prix was a hotly contested class, and has been all of 2020, with some riders bringing multiple horses to boost their numbers on the leaderboard. The course, set by Olympic designer Leopoldo Palacios, offered options for competitive rides and a dramatic final bending line in the jump-off: a challenging, angled gallop from the Prestige Italia oxer to the Hygain Feed vertical.
With just 20 points separating him from the pinnacle, Luis Larrazabal of Venezuela and the dapple grey mare Caristina flew around the immaculate grass Grand Prix field. As the last to go of the day, they galloped to victory with a jump off time of 31.146. His double clear effort was contested by three others: Samuel Perot and Boogie Woogie (32.220), Kristian Skovrider and Lykkehoejs Cassander (33.989), and Wilhelm Genn and Van Gogh (34.955). The last week’s Grand Prix victory makes bookend wins for Larrazabal and Caristina this season, as the pair was also the first winners of the of the Grand Prix during Turf Tour 1 (January 8-10).
Brazil’s Thiago Rhavy and Salamandra Baloubina were victorious in the week’s second headline class, the $5,000 1.30m Rising Star Classic. Edging out speedy Stella Manship and her Quarto Mail by only two hundredths of a second, Rhavy came out on top in the jump-off on a time of 30.730 to Manship’s 30.919.
After following the developing plot of the coronavirus, with a heavy heart, the Turf Tour’s organizers announced that they would be cancelling the last event of the season, Finale week at Black Watch Farm. Despite all the extra protocols taken to ensure the health and safety of all their horses, riders, owners, spectators, and staff, the next Turf Tour event is planned to commence January 2021, with lots of new venue additions, sponsors, and all the atmosphere and competition that has made the Turf Tour a staple in Wellington’s show season.
“We are in uncharted waters with this virus and the impact on equestrian events and the entire industry,” said George D’Ambrosio, co-founder of the Turf Tour. “Erring on the side of caution will be our decision in such a situation, and we can’t thank our supporters and riders enough for bringing their horses to show with us. We wish everyone a safe and healthy spring, so we can all get back in the saddle again ASAP.”
Luis Larrazabal and Thalys Z. Photo property of Equinium/The Ridge at Wellington.
Wellington, FL (March 5, 2020) – An already tight race for 2020 Turf Tour Leading Rider honors became just a touch more competitive as Luis Larrazabal and Thalys Z scored another victory, winning Wednesday’s $5,000 1.30m Rising Star Classic. Larrazabal is currently the Turf Tour’s points leader, with a number of top competitors nipping at his heels to win the Leading Rider title and a gorgeous golf cart presented by the show’s official horse carrier, Iron Horse Transit. With only 3 more weeks of Turf Tour competition to go, plus the Saturday March 28 Finale presented by Wellington National Golf Course, the battle for 2020 Leading Rider is sure to heat up under the Florida sun.
Larrazabal and Thalys Z jumped an impressive double clear round in the Grand Prix last week at Black Watch Farm, and continued to show top form at To-Kalon. The pair executed a nearly perfect jump off, taking tight inside turns and leaving out a few strides to clinch victory with a time of 39.335 seconds.
Chelsea Moss rode Stormfront Stables’ Ravena Is La Silla to second with a 41. 235, while third went to Rebecca Conway and Stakatistaa with 43.146. Running in Ring 2, tandem with Ring 1, are all levels and divisions of Level 2 Jumpers on the grass, from the .80m-1.2m. Points for the Leading Rider Award are accrued from results in the 1.20-1.25m, the $5,000 1.30 Rising Star Classic, and the $15,000 1.40m Turf Tour Grand Prix.
“The Rising Star Jumper Classic, which is held every Wednesday during the Florida season, is meant to serve as a soft introduction to the higher classes,” said Nona Garson, co-founder of The Ridge Turf Tour and US Olympian. “It’s a stepping off point, with options to challenge a horse or build its confidence. All of our classes aim to serve that purpose: allowing horses and riders to develop in new environments, on different but ideal footing, and under less stressful circumstances. All levels are welcome, and the providing riders the option to train horses while also showing is our goal, along with generous prize money and exceptional atmosphere.”
Wellington, Florida (January 17, 2018) – Venezuela’s Luis Larrazabal and G&C Close Up put hoof to turf in Wednesday’s 1.30m Rising Star Classic, leading the class for most of the day with a blistering jump-off time of 28.841 seconds. No one could best the brilliant effort, and their ride highlighted a utopian day of show jumping during the fifth week of Turf Tour competition. With two rings of grass courses at Carben Farm, which included Low, Medium, and High Jumpers as well as 1.20-1.25m and the 1.30m Rising Star Classic, Wednesday’s event welcomed a diverse selection of riders from juniors and adult amateurs to internationally competitive professionals, all seeking the exceptional footing and spectacular venues of the Turf Tour.
Larrazabal and the 11-year-old KWPN gelding were one of the early combinations to test their skills over the 1.30m Rising Star Classic course designed by Eric Hasbrouck. With Larrazabal having the ride on G&C Close Up since the horse was a 5-year-old, the performance was demonstrative of their rapport and partnership. “I know him very well, and we were able to jump very fast today,” said Larrazabal. “I decided to leave out a few strides, do a few inside turns, and just give him a real chance to be very quick. We did only 7 strides to the combination, and as soon as he landed we galloped to the final fence. My goal with him was to give him a very competitive round and eventually move him back into the 1.40-1.45m, where he is a very competitive horse.”
With a string consisting of both young and seasoned jumpers, Larrazabal has used the Turf Tours as the stage for their development. “I love the Turf Tour’s atmosphere and especially the option to show at different venues,” he said. “It’s a super advantage for the riders to be able to get in experience at different venues and environments, especially for the young horses. Last week’s Turf Tour at Polo West was super cool; we had a fantastic time jumping on the giant grass fields there and getting a different feel at each location. Having a change to ride on the grass is also very important, and I plan to continue to take advantage of these events. They also treat you exceptionally well, with food and drinks as well as being very accommodating of riders’ schedules and training goals.”
Wellington, FL – October 26, 2016 – Luis Larrazabal of Wellington, FL and G&C Close Up, owned by San Francisco Stables, LLC, captured first place in the $10,000 Open Welcome Stake at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) during ESP Fall II after narrowly edging Gustavo Prato of Wellington, FL and Carna Z, owned by Equus Forte LLC, who finished in second. Larrazabal and G&C Close Up completed the jump-off track in 41.372 seconds, while Prato, hot on their heels, crossed the timers with a time of 41.483 seconds. Maria Brugal of Wellington, FL and her own Vasco earned third place after finishing in 42.272 seconds.
Nicole Lootchan of Hawthorn Woods, IL and her own Memory Lane rode to victory in the $2,500 Low Junior/Amateur Owner Classic after besting a class of 13 entries with their jump-off time of 41.98 seconds. Paula Portocarrero of Wellington, FL and her own Happy QT finished in second place, stopping the jump-off timers in 43.796 seconds. Erika Jakobson of Boca Raton, FL and Nando KLT, owned by Barn Rat LLC, took home third place in the class with a second round time of 40.475 seconds and four faults.
Liana Gavidia of Jupiter, FL guided her own Quolibet D’Hem to the win in the $1,500 Low Child/Adult Jumper Classic presented by Equine Couture & Tuffrider. The duo finished atop the leaderboard with a time of 32.319 seconds. Madeline Hull of Wellington, FL and Quarterback, owned by Blair Kintz, took second place after securing a time of 32.932 seconds, while Ansgar Holtgers Jr. of Wellington, FL guided No Regrets VIII, owned by Gut Einhaus, LLC, to third with a time of 34.18 seconds.
The $1,500 M&S Child/Adult Classic presented by Accuhorsemat was championed by Margot Gilbert of Boca Raton, FL and Alejandro, owned by Blake Sporthorse LLC, as the duo finished the jump-off track with just a single time fault for a time of 36.665 seconds. Megan Boekhout of Hypoluxo, FL and her own Phantom O earned second place as the only other combination to complete the jump-off. Darice Hofstein of Coral Springs, FL and her own Zarousch captured third place after completing the first round track with eight faults.
The NAL Child/Adult Jumper Classic was championed by Mateo Coles of Ft. Lauderdale, FL and Wibrands, owned by Daniela Roy, as the pair took the class with a time of 51.18 seconds in the jump-off round, adding two time penalties to their score. Paige Myers of Plantation, FL and her own Enzo secured second place after dropping a single rail in the first round and finishing with a time of 75.681 seconds. Liana Gavidia of Jupiter, FL and her own Tino de la Mazure rounded out the top three after crossing through the timers in 76.709 seconds in the first round while adding four faults to their final score.
Julie Burton of Loxahatchee, FL and her own Uppercase championed the Children’s/Adult Hunter Division presented by UHealth Ear Institute. Emmanuelle Greenberg of Boca Raton, FL took reserve honors aboard her own Vermeer.
Riley McKesson of Loxahatchee, FL and Roaring Run Blue Rambler, owned by Montoga Inc., rode to the top of the class in the Children’s Pony Hunter Division presented by The Wanderer’s Club after a weekend of strong performances. Sterling Malnik of Ocean Ridge, FL guided her own Clovermeade Bugs Bunny to reserve champion honors.
Allyson Blais of Boynton Beach, FL and her own Captain Darco Heldenlaan Z topped the Junior/Amateur Owner Hunter 3’3″/3’6″ Division, while Alexandra Howe of Holmes Beach, FL and her own Upcountry Jonas took the reserve title.
The Low Adult Hunter Division presented by Pilates Rocks saw Linda Clarke of Wellington, FL and Simply Put, owned by Jason Clukey, rise to the occasion in the division to take champion honors. Eliza Eddy of Lighthouse Point, FL guided Ever So, owned by Carriage Hill Farm, to divisional reserve honors.
Juliana Howe of Holmes Beach, FL and her own Cronkite rise to the top of the Large Pony Hunter Division, capturing the divisional championship title for the weekend. Mia Green of Delray Beach, FL guided Royal Tuscany, owned by Sara Murphy, to reserve champion.
Myca Harris of Wellington, FL and her own Sandro Reuben topped the Modified Hunter Division to receive the weekend’s divisional championship. Gabriella Curry of Plantation, FL and her own Chunky Monkey captured the reserve champion title.
For more information on PBIEC and to see a full list of results, please visit www.pbiec.com.
Devin Seek and Valentino Rise to Occasion in $5,000 Pony Hunter Derby
Mill Spring, NC – July 11, 2016 – Luis Larrazabal of Wellington, FL and Quintus Fabius rode to a spectacular win in the $25,000 Under 25 Grand Prix to conclude Tryon Summer II at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), stopping the clock in 38.777 seconds for the win. Abigail McArdle of Wellington, FL and Contessina Della Caccia almost stole the win, finishing just fifteen hundredths of a second off the winning pace to earn a time of 38.785 seconds. Louise Graves of Franklin, TN and Zavira took third place, completing the course in 41.564 seconds.
Capturing his first Under 25 Grand Prix win with Quintus Fabius, Larrazabal explained the 2007 Hanoverian gelding (Quality x Lady P), owned by Isabela Pacanins, just recently moved up to contest this height over the past year. Speeding through the jump-off round to narrowly edge McArdle for the win, Larrazabal was elated with the victory and described his initial plan after walking the track set by Martin Otto (GER).
“When I walked the course I was impressed. I’ve done the other two Under 25 classes here and this was for sure the toughest so far,” he explained. “This horse is new to this height so when I was done walking the course my goal was to really just do my best.”
“I thought to myself that if I went clear around this course it would be my lucky day because he doesn’t have a lot of experience at this level,” he added.
While Quintus Fabius may still be finding his feet at the top levels, his willingness and bravery is consistent each time Larrazabal enters the ring. The pair, who has gained experience together throughout the spring season, will look to continue their success in the Under 25 classes.
“The good thing is he has a huge heart. He always tries his hardest. He doesn’t have perfect technique, but he’s very scopey and his heart and try is what makes him special,” he elaborated. “The scope is really important and I think that’s what helped us today.”
“I can put him in the spot I want and he will always try his best to get there from where I ask him,” noted Larrazabal.
The jump-off featured two other naturally fast riders in McArdle and Graves, and Larrazabal felt that he needed to push through the short course if he was to secure the win. McArdle tried hard to catch the time set by Larrazabal, finishing just short, but making for an exciting finish.
“In the jump-off, I definitely think I made up the little bit of time that separated us between fences one and two. I think both of them added one or two more strides in there than we did,” he detailed. “For the last line, we pushed for it and that’s where we sealed it.”
“I think that Abigail is generally much faster than me, especially with that horse, but today was my lucky day,” smiled Larrazabal.
Bringing up a number of young horses this season, Larrazabal hopes to continue his success throughout the summer and is eyeing a move to the FEI level during the fall circuit.
“With Quintus Fabius, I’m just so happy with our results today. This is perfect for him and I’m going to keep him in the Under 25 Grand Prix classes for the rest of the season,” he said. “I also have a couple of horses moving up that will be able to do the FEI classes later this year and we’re aiming for the fall. The rest of the horses are young and developing, which is very fun for me too.”
Noel Fauntleroy of Manakin Sabot, VA and her own Mae led the $10,000 High Junior/Amateur Owner Classic, taking the class with a jump-off time of 40.048 seconds and earning the fastest four fault round. Victoria Karam of Wellington, FL and her own New Life HM captured second place, stopping the clock in 42.471 seconds, finishing with just a single rail down. Fernando Lozinsky of Flemington, NJ and his own Tamerlan Du Poncel secured third place with 12 faults and a time of 41.903 seconds around the short course.
Devin Seek and Valentino Rise to Occasion in $5,000 Pony Hunter Derby
Devin Seek of Ocala, FL and Valentino, owned by Ashley Vail Aycox, took top honors in the $5,000 Pony Hunter Derby, finishing their rounds in the George H. Morris Arena to secure a final score of 165. Libbie Gordon of Statesville, NC and her own Q-2 collected second place, earning a score of 163, while Gabrielle Sousa of Matthews, NC and Rockport, owned by Isabella Benedetto, received third place with a score of 156.
Seek produced two lovely rounds aboard Valentino and used the extra size of the ring to her advantage. The duo earned an 85 in the first round and returned for the handy to pick up a score of 80. Seek, who has ridden Valentino over the course of the past year, was pleased with her rounds and was excited for the opportunity to compete in the George H. Morris Arena.
“It was a nice first round for us, because there were a lot of long bending lines and single jumps and in a big ring like the George Morris, you can pick up a nice pace to find distances,” said Seek. “In the handy, there weren’t that many places that you could really turn inside, but I did try go inside after the two stride, which I wasn’t originally planning on doing.”
“I wanted to be neat everywhere, so in general, I just turned early and made sure that everything looked very clean,” she added.
Using the class as preparation for U.S. Pony Finals hosted in Lexington, KY later in the summer, Seek found the opportunity beneficial in understanding what she should focus on before the prestigious championship.
“This class was a big help in preparing for Pony Finals. It gave me a good feel as to how the atmosphere will feel there because this is such a big ring and the ponies never get the chance to go into a ring like that until we’re in Kentucky. Now I feel like I know what I need to work on more with each of them heading into the rest of the summer.”
Seek has established a strong relationship with Valentino and has had major success throughout the year, guiding him to numerous wins. His attitude and will to win has made him a special ride for her and she has high hopes for their future this summer.
“I started showing Valentino last year. I get called in to show him for his owner Ashley Aycox a lot. He may be the best pony I’ve ever ridden. He’s just amazing,” she commented. “He’s straightforward and has a good mind. He wants to win as much as anyone else does.”
Melissa Deryn Foster of Langley, British Columbia and Unwritten, owned by Emily Sukert, finished atop the $1,000 Junior Hunter 3’6″ Classic, finishing with a score of 161. Caroline Jones of Brownsboro, AL and At Last, owned by Century Performances Horses LLC, collected second place with an overall score of 154, while Helen Ulrich of Moorsville, NC and her own Luminary earned third place with a score of 147.5.
In the $1,000 Junior Hunter 3’3″ Classic, Devin Seek of Ocala, FL and Just Sayin, owned by Fairfield Farms LLC, took first place, receiving an overall score of 172. Phoebe Alwine of Delray Beach, FL and Baricello, owned by In The Clover Equestrian, scored a 160 for second place, while Seek piloted another mount into the top three aboard Cold Case, owned by Donald Stewart, with a score of 150.
Allison Cederberg of Billings, MT and Zero Tolerance, owned by Dru Cederberg, rode to victory in the $1,000 Amateur Owner 3’3″/3’6″ Classic, earning a score of 164. Liddy Strickland of McDonough, GA and her own Valentine received second place with a 160, while Randall Johnson of Clarksburg, MD and Cantando, owned by Greener Pastures, rounded out the top three with a score of 158.
Competition at TIEC resumes on Wednesday, July 13, with the start of Tryon Summer III, which will conclude Sunday, July 17. For more information and to see a full list of results, please visit www.tryon.com.